chapter  2
12 Pages

Taking Human Nature Seriously: Psychology and the Polity

WithDaniel N. Robinson

This chapter begins with a brief and critical review of certain lingering convictions held by a number of influential thinkers, some of them psychologists; convictions regarding the proper focus and agenda of a developed human science and its defensible metaphysical foundations. The problem with sociobiological reasoning is not that humanity and its creations are in some way superior to nature or somehow "transcend" all of nature or are radically "unnatural." Rather, nature itself is richer in its principles and possibilities than today's official rubrics permit. If reductionism is taken to mean no more than "reduced to orderliness" or "reduced to lawfulness" - if, that is, nothing more is intended by the term than a species of nomological reduction—then the claim is entirely promissory and dubious. The discipline of Psychology has a distinct and distinguishing mission only to the extent that individual beings personally identifiable agents—exist as the self-conscious critics, architects and conservators of paideia.